‘Heartstopper’ Season 2 Parallels Nick And Kit Connor’s Coming Out Stories

In shining a spotlight on queer stories, Netflix’s Heartstopper has always highlighted immense joy and love both within and for the community, while never shying away from the challenges LGBTQIA+ people face in today’s society. Season 2 of the romantic dramedy — based on Alice Oseman’s webcomics and graphic novels — maintains that authentic balance as Nick Nelson (Kit Connor) navigates how to come out to friends, classmates, and family members, while his boyfriend Charlie (Joe Locke) strives to protect him from the same pressure, stress, and fear he felt when he was outed.

As Nick shares his truth over the course of eight new episodes, he’s met with a mix of love, support, care, confusion, judgment, ignorance, and blatant homophobia. The fleshed-out storyline may be fictional, but anyone familiar with Connor’s public coming out story will see parallels between the actor’s real-life experience and that of his character.

In October 2022, six months after Heartstopper Season 1 premiered on Netflix, fans accused the then 18-year-old English actor of  “queerbaiting” when photos of him holding hands with his A Cuban Girl’s Guide to Tea and Tomorrow co-star Maia Reficco surfaced online. In response to the allegations, Connor left Twitter, then returned to say, “Back for a minute. I’m bi. Congrats for forcing an 18 year old to out himself. I think some of you missed the point of the show. Bye.”

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Kit Connor as Nick Nelson in 'Heartstopper'
Photo: Netflix

Season 2 finds Connor’s character Nick coming out as bi, too. And though his mother, friends, rugby coach, and others make him feel safe and accepted, he has several negative interactions, including one with his brother David (Jack Barton) that closely echoes Connor’s real-life experience. Since the moment we met David in Season 2, Episode 2, he’s stirred up trouble, disrespected Nick, and prodded into his love life at every opportunity. After cornering Charlie in Nick’s room one night, David says, “I just wanted to meet the guy that turned my little brother gay,” and Nick bursts in to tell David, “I’m bi, actually, and so what?” A fight breaks out between them, stunning Charlie into silence, and throughout the emotional scene, Connor’s performance feels more like a cathartic release rooted in reality than lines memorized from a script. 

While Nick coming out to his brother isn’t on the same massive public scale as Kit’s tweet, both instances show teens being pressured to come out on someone else’s terms. Though we haven’t seen the bullying and real-time emotions Charlie experienced after being outed to his school before he was ready, discussions of lingering trauma, disordered eating, and self-harm throughout Season 2 serve as reminders that ripping away someone’s agency, safety, or readiness tied to their coming out can have lasting impacts and very real repercussions.

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Joe Locke and Kit Connor texting in 'Heartstopper' Season 2
Photo: Netflix

Other parallels between Nick and Kit’s stories appear throughout the season, like when Nick shares a coming out post to Instagram and surprised comments suggest that he doesn’t fit typical LGBTQIA+ stereotypes because he’s an athlete, just as fans were quick to assume Connor wasn’t gay based on surface-level knowledge of him. The on-screen storylines aim to remind viewers that speculating on sexual identity or orientation can be harmful, and though someone may choose to open up about their own, no one owes anyone that private information.

In a July 2023 interview, more than a year after tweeting that he was “forced” to come out, Connor told British Vogue, “I think ‘forced’ isn’t the right word I would use, but I would say that I would have preferred to do it another way…I also don’t know if I would have ever done it. But at the end of the day I don’t regret it. In many ways it was really empowering.”

“I’m a young man, so I’m already kind of going through certain things, in terms of just life and mental health,” Connor said when discussing the tweet. “I just needed to let that energy out.” The now 19-year-old actor elaborated, adding, “I just felt like it wasn’t something I was ready to talk about… I wasn’t angry. I was just slightly disappointed by this reaction.”

Oseman, Heartstopper’s creator, felt the same last October, and was quick to show Connor support, tweeting, “I truly don’t understand how people can watch Heartstopper and then gleefully spend their time speculating about sexualities and judging based on stereotypes. I hope all those people are embarrassed as F—. Kit you are amazing.”

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Joe Locke and Kit Connor kissing in 'Heartstopper' Season 2
Photo: Netflix

In an August 2023 interview with Entertainment Weekly, Oseman addressed the Season 2 parallels between Nick and Kit’s coming out stories, saying, “It was pure coincidence, because Nick’s story existed in the comics long before I wrote it again for the show. But Heartstopper is about balancing the light with the dark, and I think that becomes particularly clear in Season 2. We’ve still got these joyful, beautiful Heartstopper moments, but all the characters are dealing with their own issues, as well. For Nick, that is feeling like he can’t quite come out or he doesn’t know when to do it, how to do it, who to do it to. It’s a really relatable experience I think a lot of people go through, particularly young queer people.”

Heartstopper Season 2 stresses that coming out isn’t a one-time thing, that every experience isn’t going to feel perfect, and that homophobia is still an extremely prevalent danger in today’s society. It aims to remind people not to speculate on sexualities or fall into stereotypical thinking, and to let people come out on their own terms in their own time. But if there’s one thing to take away from parallels between Nick and Kit’s coming-out stories, it’s that Heartstopper viewers shouldn’t simply be moved by on-screen relationships, performances, and storylines — they should internalize the show, learn from it, and apply those crucial lessons and empathy felt for characters to real-life situations.

Heartstopper is now streaming on Netflix.


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